55 legislators tell Bullock to block Syrian refugees

A group of Montana legislators is telling Gov. Steve Bullock to block all Syrian refugees from entering Montana for now.

The 55 legislators, 26 state senators and 29 state representatives, co-signed a letter telling Bullock to “block or resist any efforts by the Obama administration to relocate Syrian refugees to Montana until the federal government is able to properly conduct background checks and ensure with 100 percent certainty that any refugees settling in Montana does not put the safety and security of Montanans at risk.”

“Our first priority must be to protect Montanans. The system in place to screen these refugees does not guarantee our safety and security,” said State Senator Fred Thomas in a press release. “It’s absolutely critical Gov. Bullock take all necessary steps to prevent any efforts by the Obama administration to relocate Syrian refugees to Montana without the proper background checks.”

Last week Bullock declined to join more than a dozen Republican governors who said they would refuse to allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states following Friday’s terrorist attacks on Paris.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R.-Mont., and U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R.-Mont., both expressed their concern about Syrian refugees entering the U.S.

It’s unclear how governors could turn away Syrian refugees, or to decide who poses a safety threat.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the authority to control immigration and refugee resettlement is a power of the federal government, not states, and the federal authority was spelled out by Congress with the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.


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